It's year one of the Urban Meyer era, and that's as good a reason as any to get excited about Buckeye football, yes? Sure, last season's suspension-filled, Tressel-and-Pryor-less, 6-7 debacle is nothing to get excited about. But Ohio State could (and some might say should) be the most improved team in the Big Ten this year—especially from just a win-loss perspective.
Something's not happening, though, and it's something that usually goes perfectly hand-in-hand with Ohio State football: robust ticket sales. In fact, those ticket sales are slumping—especially among the single-game sales that usually mean the difference between a sellout and not.
Here's more from the Columbus Dispatch:
About 5,234 fewer alumni who are eligible for single-game tickets and 2,276 fewer students applied for the upcoming season, which starts in 23 days with Ohio State hosting the Miami University RedHawks.By contrast, more OSU faculty and staff members sought tickets than the number available to them; 250 were shut out, which also has happened the past several years.
“I don’t get surprised by anything anymore,” Alumni Association spokesman Jay Hansen said of the ticket sales.
Most years, about 44,000 alumni apply for tickets, he said. But this year, 33,436 did.
There are myriad factors at play here: the one-year postseason ban, the rather tepid schedule (fighting for the title of third-best Ohio State home opponent this year are Purdue, Illinois, and...Cal, maybe?) and even the waning Ohio economy.
Hansen said in the Dispatch article that he himself is experiencing a decline in disposable income, and let's be honest: Once the spokespeople are getting hit hard, everyone's getting hit hard.
Let's also consider the fact that the television experience is getting better and better for fans. With HD television—and HD coverage for each game between the ESPN and Big Ten Network deals, to boot—and overall increases in broadcast quality (right down to the ubiquitous first-down line that's only available on TV), there's an ever-declining necessity to leave the house for a game.
Sure, the game-day experience is unique and breathtaking, but nobody's going to a game because it's the only way to see it anymore.
This isn't all to say that OSU won't be selling out Ohio Stadium come September and onward. The extra tickets will be available to opposing fans and band members, to say nothing of general ticket sales over the course of the year.
Nothing brings fans to a stadium like quality football, though. And considering the likelihood that the Buckeyes are going to make a run at nine or 10 wins this fall, there will be absolutely no shortage of people willing to plunk down whatever it takes to take in a game at the 'Shoe.